• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Third Mainland Bridge: 4 important things motorists need to know

Third Mainland Bridge: 4 important things motorists need to know

On April 4, 2024, motorists on Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos heaved a huge sigh of relief as the 11.8-kilometre bridge that had, at various times in six whole months, been partially closed to traffic, was fully reopened.

Before this time, it was a daily dose of stress for commuters arising from snarling gridlock, tortuous driving experience and loss of man-hour that, sometimes, led to missed business opportunities.

The euphoria that greeted the reopening, which meant an end to those ugly experiences, blind-folded and deadened the sensibilities of the motorists such that they forgot to take note of or ask questions on a few important things they should know about their new found freedom.

With its beautifully done lane-markings and smooth surfacing, it becomes tempting for motorists, especially the commercial bus drivers, to press their pedals down fully without knowing that they have a limit to that freedom and also that something is taking record of their action.

It is important, therefore, for motorists to know that the bridge has speed limit of 80km/h. The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Oluwaseun Osiyemi, who represented the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the reopening, cautioned motorists against over-speeding, saying that any motorists that goes beyond the speed limit has a penalty to pay.

That, according to the commissioner, is not designed to punish the motorists, but to ensure that they don’t put their lives and those of the people they convey at risk. “It is about safety of lives,” he said.

The next thing motorists should be mindful of is that the bridge has speed cameras that have been mounted to capture them with appropriate fines recorded. So, this is not business as usual where government makes laws and fails to enforce them. Technology is at work here and it makes no mistakes.

It is also good for the motoring public to know that, though fully reopened and put into use, the 34- year old bridge, on which the federal government is reported to have spent about N15.6billion carrying out repair works in the last six years, is still work in progress.

David Umahi, the minister of works, has said that a N46-billion contract has been awarded to Julius Berger for the rehabilitation of the bridge alongside Cater Bridge—the First Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

The minister who disclosed this during a tour of federal government’s projects in Lagos recently, said the contract was for repairing the underwater damage of the bridge which, he said, would cost about N21 billion, while that of Carter Bridge is to gulp N25 billion.

“Already, Julius Berger is working on it, and has been mobilised with the sum of N6 billion and N7 billion respectively,” he said.

The minister added that there were three critical underwater challenges affecting the structures one of which is the depletion of the slabs which, he said, was nothing to worry about because the ministry is going to repair it as it did with Eko Bridge.

Other challenges, according to the minister, are the deterioration of the pipe caps and their cover, among others. The cause of these challenges, he said, are illegal sand mining, underwater currents and rusting of the steel casings.

The next thing, probably unknown to some users of this bridge, which could be seen as common knowledge, is that this is not the only ‘Mainland’ bridge in Lagos. What makes the bridge special and more popular is its unique features, particularly its length and width.

This is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland and, until 1996 when the 6th October Bridge in Cairo, Egypt was completed, it was the longest bridge in Africa. The bridge was constructed by Julius Berger and completed in 1990 by President Ibrahim Babangida

The first phase of the bridge, which has a link midway that leads to Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba, was commissioned by President Shehu Shagari in 1980.

The first and second mainland bridges in Lagos are Carter Bridge and Eko Bridge respectively. Carter Bridge was built in 1901. At that time, it was the only bridge connecting the mainland and Lagos Island. The bridge was named after Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter, a former Governor of the Colony of Lagos.

It was originally constructed by the British colonial government before independence in 1960. But after independence, the bridge was dismantled, redesigned and rebuilt in late 1970s.

Eko Bridge came after this as the Second Mainland Bridge. The bridge was built in 1975 and is the shortest of the three bridges linking Lagos Island to mainland. The bridge was made to convey citizens faster from the mainland to the island and vice versa.